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not go undre the erthe, and also that men scholde falle toward the hevene from undre! But that may not be, upon lesse than wee mowe falle toward hevene fro the erthe where we ben. For fro what partie of the erthe that men duelle, outher aboven or benethen, it semethe alweys to hem that duellen, that thei gon more righte than ony other folk. And righte as it semethe to us that thei ben undre us, righte so it semethe hem that wee ben undre hem. For gif a man myghte falle fro the erthe unto the firmament; be grettere resoun the erthe and the see, that ben so grete and so hevy,
scholde fallen to the firmament: but that may not be; and therfore seithe oure Lord God, Non timeas me, qui suspendi terram ex nichilo? And allebeit that it be possible thing, that men may so envy. ronne alle the world, natheles of a 1000 persones, on ne myghte not happen to retournen in to his contree. For, for the gretnesse of the erthe and of the see, men may go be a 1000 and a 1000 other weyes, that no man cowde redye him perfitely toward the parties that he cam fro, but gif it were be aventure and happ, or be the grace of God."
This passage, written a century before the age of Columbus, shows us clearly that the boldness and originality of that navigator's expedition were not so great as is commonly believed. Maundevile little knew how near, in some of these observations, he was approaching the future path of Newton! One of the greatest advantages which Sir John Maundevile reaped from his intimate intercourse with the natives of the eastern lands, was the opportunity it afforded him of collecting popular tales, with which his book abounds. Mr. Halliwell, in his additional notes, has pointed out several of these tales which recur in the Arabian Nights. Some of his religious legends are also very singular. The following is rather a naïve confession, connected with the multiplicity of relics, as they were shown in those days: "And the spere schaft [with which Christ's side was pierced] hathe the emperour of Almayne; but the heved is at Parys. And natheles the emperour of Constantynoble seythe that he hathe the spere heed and I have often tyme seen it; but it is grettere than that at Parys." As a specimen of the numerous religious legends in Maundevile's travels, we may quote his account of the origin
"And betwene the cytee and the chirche is the Felde Floridus, that is to seyne, the feld florisched: foralsmoche as a fayre mayden was blamed with wrong, and sclaundered, that sche hadde done fornycacioun; for whiche cause sche was demed to the dethe, and to be brent in that place, to the whiche sche was ladd. And as the fyre began to brenne aboute hire, sche made hire prayeres to owre Lord, that als wissely as sche was not gylty of that synne, that he wold helpe hire, and make it to be knowen to alle men, of his
mercyfulle grace. And whan sche hadde thus seyd, sche entred in to the fuyer; and anon was the fuyr quenched and oute: and the brondes that weren brennynge becomen rede roseres; and the brendes that weren not kyndled becomen white roseres, fulle of roses. And theise weren the first roseres and roses, bothe white and rede, that evere ony man saughe. And thus was this mayden saved be the grace of God; and therefore is that feld clept the Feld of God florysscht, for it was fulle of roses."
It is unnecessary to multiply our extracts from a book which is now so accessible to everybody; and we take our leave of it with the confident hope that it will have a large circulation. We cannot quit the subject without testifying our satisfaction at seeing many announcements of curious and valuable publications connected with geography as well as general science during the Middle Ages, and we would particularly call the attention of our readers to the following announcement in the Foreign Monthly Review, a periodical recently established, which promises to be one of the best and most popular Reviews we have, if we may be allowed to judge by the numbers which have already appeared. Mr. Asher, of Berlin, is preparing for publication a new edition of the work known by the title of Travels of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, in Hebrew and English, with notes on the Geography and History of the Middle Ages. In this undertaking the publisher is promised the assistance of all the scholars of Berlin, from which we may confidently anticipate a work richly deserving the attention of the whole learned world."
We are acquainted with no book which forms so appropriate a companion to the "Voiage" of Sir John Maundevile, as the Travels of Benjamin of Tudela.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Sketches and Essays. Hazlitt. 1839. 12mo. NO one would deny, who was at all acquainted with Mr. Hazlitt's writings or conversation, that he possessed much quickness of apprehension, subtlety of thought, readiness of illustration, and variety of knowledge; he was a metaphysician, a painter, and if not a poet, at least one who loved and appreciated poetry with discernment and taste. Such talents and accomplishments, strenuously exerted, ought to have procured to the writer a wide and lasting reputation, and imparted proportionate amusement and instruction to his readers; and, indeed, many of Mr. Hazlitt's volumes have long been
in extensive circulation: but there was a very considerable drawback to the successful development of his powers :-viz. that he wrote from necessity, on the spur of the moment, and for immediate sale. He could not afford to wait for the cool, dispassionate, but tardy judgment of the enlightened critic and connoisseur. The Penates were crying out for food and fire; and it was necessary that the commodity should be marketable on the day. Now this led, as it more or less does all popular and periodical writers, to the liability of incurring two great defects the first, that of inaccuracy in stating opinions, citing authorities, and sometimes, but not often, in the construction of style. The other, on which we lay the more stress, because the more important, that of indulging in startling assertions, in exaggerated and high-coloured statements, in shewy and specious inferences, and in paradoxes repulsive to the taste, or too recondite for the reasoning of ordinary persons. Some of these defects arose probably from a somewhat over nourished and cherished ingenuity in the author's mind, which led him to see and form distinctions and trace analogies too fine and fanciful for common observation; but we have no doubt that they were much increased by the qualities required, or thought to GENT. MAG. VOL. XII.
be required, in these branches of literature in which he was much employed; which demanded an immediate effect to be made, even at the expense of a less strong but more solid and lasting profit. We have acknowledged the worth and weight of Mr. Hazlitt's talents; they are not to be questioned; Mr. Serjeant Talfourd has dilated on them with kindred feel
ing and eloquence, and, what is more to the purpose, the public has acknow. ledged them by their patronage. But we must perceive also that he had defects both of opinion and feeling, which much impeded and marred the good effect of his better and higher qualities; which made his Life of Napoleon a mere political and party pamphlet; and which have filled these Essays before us with most inaccurate statements, and indigested`` matter. Let us give a few specimens, lest we appear to wrong his good name on insufficient grounds.
He begins his volume with the startling assertion, "I cannot understand the rage manifested by the greater part of the world for reading new books."-As if there were any difficulty about the matter; or, if there were, as if it could be solved by the surmise "that, old books would be the less likely to give me pleasure, because they have delighted so many others."-"Yet this," he says, "might appear to be the inference," with many other suppositions, equally ingenious, and equally improbable. At p. 7 we have the following query: "It has been a fashion of late for noble and wealthy persons to go to a considerable expense in ordering reprints of the old Chronicles and black-letter works. Does not this rather prove that the books did not circulate very rapidly or extensively, or such extraordinary patronage and liberality would not have been necessary?"-We believe that the old Chronicles were all republished by the booksellers, and as for the rapid and extensive circulation of such works, did Mr. Hazlitt suppose that every Squire's family was to possess a
copy of Rymer's Fœdera, or every country vicar the Acta Sanctorum, and the Benedictine Fathers? And further, is the rapid and extensive circulation of a work the only proof of
its merits or usefulness? But the fact is, of these Chronicles and old folio volumes there were very large original impressions, and their popularity is evidenced by these impres sions having been at length exhausted. When the author asserts as at p. 13,
"We are struck with astonishment at finding a fine moral sentiment, or a noble image nervously expressed in an author of the age of Queen Elizabeth," we can only meet him by asserting that it is just there, that is, in Shakspere and Spenser, in Bacon and Rawleigh, in Sidney and Jonson, that we should expect to find them, but not exactly for the reasons stated by Mr. Hazlitt," that they were thoroughly acquainted with the masters of classic thought and language.'
At p. 26 we read, that "Addison fell a martyr to his habit of tippling," an assertion without any proof we believe, and apparently only made, "to point the moral" intended to be enforced. At p. 31, he says,
no ground for an inference that Raphael was not intitled to the epithet of Divine,' because he was attached to the Fornarina." But who ever did? or what has the epithet "Divine," applied to him as an Artist, to do with his fancies and frailties with a baker's wife as a man? He also sees no reason for affirming, "that Handel was not in earnest when he sat down to compose a symphony, because he had at the same time perhaps a bottle of cordials in his cupboard." What shall we say to the accuracy or fairness of the following declaration?
"Let a man be as bad as he will, as little refined as possible, and indulge whatever hurtful passions he thinks proper, these cannot occupy his whole time; and in the intervals between one scoundrel action and another, he may and must have better thoughts, and may have recourse to those of religion (true or false), among the number, without in this being guilty of hypocrisy, or of making a jest of what is considered sacred. This I take it is the whole secret of Methodism, which is a sort of modern vent for the ebullitions of
the spirit, through the gap of unrighteous
Mr. Hazlitt does not trouble himself
much about the accuracy of his minuter details. He says, p. 39, "as some grave Biographer has said of Shakhe made a speech, and did it in great speare, that even when he killed a calf style." The author of this wellknown saying was Aubrey, who can hardly be called Shakspere's biographer, and who was anything but grave. Sometimes we are instructed, with such a truism as the following, p. 40. "It does not appear to me that the same page he says: all faces, or all actions, are alike." In
"I would contend against that reasoning which would have it thought that if religion is not true, there is no difference between mankind and the beasts tinction is equally proved, if religion is that perish. I should say, that this dissupposed to be a mere fabrication of the human mind, the capacity to conceive it makes the difference:"
but the argument did not consider intellectual superiority, but the future prospects, and the immortality of the soul of man, which, if religion is not true, can no longer be entertained as certain truths; and which would leave session of the present life. At p. 41 man like the beasts to the sole poswe are told, that "the warfare of different faculties and dispositions within Manichean and Gnostic heresies, but us has not only given birth to the will account for many of the mummeries and dogmas of Popery and Calvinism, viz. confession, absolution, justiby faith is a mummery of Calvinism! and fication by faith," &c. So justification "by faith are ye justified," was, we presume, first promulgated by the reformer of Geneva !! This is well followed up at p. 43 by the rather startling assertion, "The more zealous any one is in his convictions of the truth of religion, the more we may suspect the sincerity of his pretensions to piety and morality." We have no wish to descend into minute particulars on trifling subjects, where truth, though always of value, is not of importance; but when Mr. Hazlitt, at p. 49, mentions "Long Robinson' having two of his fingers of his right
hand struck off by the violence of a cricket-ball! we must observe that the fact is erroneous and the cause impossible. Long Robinson lost his fingers by disease when a youth-so much for the fact and no cricket-ball could, by any possibility, do anything more than severely bruise the hand of the player. This comes of general negligence and love of exaggerated statements.
In the following passage, p. 85, the inference is drawn from somewhat confined premises. "The difference of colour in a black man was thought to forfeit his title to belong to the species, till books of voyages and travels, and old Fuller's quaint expression of God's image carved in ebony,' have brought the true ideas into a forced union; and men of colour are no longer to be libelled with impunity;" and in the adjoining sentence the argument is as inaccurately stated as it is inelegantly expressed. "The word republic has a harsh and incongruous sound to ears bred under a constitutional monarchy; and we strove hard for many years to overturn the French republic, merely because we could not reconcile it to ourselves
that such a thing should exist at all; notwithstanding the examples of Holland, Switzerland, and many others."* P. 90, we meet with the following reasoning: "Bigotry and intolerance, which pass as synonymous, are, if rightly considered, a contradiction in terms; for if, in drawing up the articles of our Creed we are blindly bigoted to our impressions and views, utterly disregarding all others, why
should we be afterwards so haunted and disturbed by the last, as to wish to exterminate every sentiment with fire and sword." Here the fallacy lies in the insertion of the clause, "" utterly disregarding all others.' In the following page we are informed that "animals are free from prejudice be
and soon afterwards we are told "that the most fluent talkers and most
plausible reasoners are not always the told "Even men of science, after they justest thinkers." At p. 99 we are have gone over the proofs a number of times, abridge the process and jump at a conclusion. Is it therefore false because they have always found it_to_be true?" and then the following conclusion is deduced, Science, after a certain time, becomes presumption, and learning being that "the steps of reasoning are reposes in ignorance: the premises shortened, as the truths they evolve become more known and familiar to us." At p. 104 the author justly observes, "My habitual conviction of the existence of such a place as Rome is not strengthened by my having seen startling position, "that it might be it." But then he adds the following
almost said to be weakened and obscured nation." We have all read, more or as the reality falls short of the imagiless, the discussions of the moralists on the nature and extent of "self-love," and many ingenious theories have been formed on the subject. Mr. Hazlitt has also a disquisition upon it; the reasoning of which at least must
be considered as novel.
"What shows the doctrine of self-interest, however high it may rear its head, or however impregnable it may seem to attack, is a mere contradiction,
In terms a fallacy, in fact a fictionis this single consideration, that we never know what is to happen to us beforehand,
When (at p. 75) Mr. Hazlitt, in quoting Milton, altered Milton's imagery, how completely has he destroyed the truth and beauty of the imagery! Milton describes the curfew-bell,
Over some wide-water'd shore
which Mr. H. alters into "wizard stream or fountain:" while it is the very breadth of the waters that imparts the sullen roar to the bell.
no, not even for a moment, and that we cannot so much as tell whether we shall be alive a year, a month, or a day hence." This he repeats and explains in a subsequent passage,
"I can, therefore, have no proper personal interest in my future impressions; since neither my ideas of future objects, nor my feelings with respect to them, can be excited either directly or indirectly by the impressions themselves, or by any ideas or feelings accompanying them, without a complete transposition of the order in which causes and effects follow one another in nature. The only reason for my preferring my future interest to that of others, must arise from my anticipating it with greater warmth of present imagination. It is this greater liveliness and force with which I enter into my future feelings, that, in a manner, identifies them with my present being; and, this notion of identity being once formed, the mind makes use of it to strengthen its habitual propensity, by giving to personal motives a reality and absolute truth which they can never have. Hence it has been inferred that my real substantial interest, in anything, must be derived from the impression of the object itself; as if that would have any sort of communication with my present feelings, or excite any interest in my mind, but by means of the imagination, which is materially affected in a certain manner by the prospect of future good or evil.”
"I cannot have a principle of active self-interest arising out of the immediate connexion between present and future self, for no such connexion exists or is possible."
At p. 289 Mr. Hazlitt imparts to us the following information on the comparative attainment of languages, and its cause:
"A girl learns French (not only to read but to speak it) in a few months, while a boy is as many years in learning to construe Latin. Why so? Chiefly because the one is treated as a bagatelle or agreeable relaxation, the other as a serious task or necessery evil."
Ergo, if less application were given to the Latin language, its difficulties would be more easily mastered; and Doctors Wordsworth and Hawtrey have only to
inform their scholars that Lucretius and Livy need not engage their serious hours, but will easily be mastered inter
ludos. Here the different structure of the two languages is entirely left out of consideration, as well as the defective means we have of acquiring a knowledge of the Latin language, a part of which only is preserved.
At p. 339 we are startled by a somewhat bold declaration, “A real reform in Parliament would banish all knavery and folly from the land." In one point of view this is consolatory; for it plainly proves, that the Reform, for which we are indebted to Lord Grey and the Whigs, is so far from a real one, that it seems to have increased knavery, folly, and every base, mischievous, and detestable passion ten-fold. Mr. Hazlitt's Reform, we fully believe, would make a very general clearance : and both the knavery of agriculture, and the folly of the Church would soon disappear.
In a disquisition on knowledge of the world we are told (p. 200),
"A bookseller to succeed in his business should have no knowledge of books, except as marketable commodities. instant he has a taste, an opinion of his own on the subject, he is a ruined man. In like manner a picture-dealer should know nothing of pictures, but the cata
logue price, the cant of the day. The moment he has a feeling for the art, he will be tenacious of it; a Guido, a Salvator, will be the fatal Cleopatra for which he will lose all he is worth, and be content to lose it. Should a general then know nothing of war, a physician of medicine? No, because this is an art, and not a trick," &c.
Of the error of this assumption we feel perfectly convinced. We consider the most successful booksellers to be the most enlightened men; and those picture-dealers to have been most successful in business, and made the largest fortunes, who had the deepest knowledge and the truest feeling for the art they professionally cultivated. When discoursing on taste (p. 246) Mr. Hazlitt, to prove "that the majority of readers are but grown children," observes,
"If put to the vote of all the milliners' girls in London, Old Mortality, or even The Heart of Mid Lothian, would not carry the day, or at least not very triumphantly, over a common Minerva Press